Emergency Responder’s Guide to Emergency Notification Planning

You can’t wait until disaster strikes to create an emergency communications strategy, so make it a priority in the new year to determine what will work to keep your community safe.

Whether you’re facing an active shooter situation or a simple weather emergency, detailing your communications plan in advance allows your team to spring into action and notify others — keeping your community safe and allowing them to feel protected during times of crisis. Without a strategy in place, your team may struggle to respond to incidents which can result in additional chaos and confusion. It’s important that your plan is not only detailed, but highly flexible, so you’re able to adjust to changing situation requirements on the fly.

Discuss What Worked and What Didn’t

Taking the time with your communication team to discuss what worked well throughout the year and what didn’t is the first step in updating or creating your strategy. If you were able to successfully reach your community — that’s great! You’re a step ahead, and well on your way to communications success. Would the plan that you created and put into action work well for other types of emergencies? It may help to brainstorm some ideas and how the plan you have could be modified for different events such as widespread power outages in the winter or an active shooter alert.

Coordinate with Management

An emergency preparedness strategy involves more than the communications team in order to be successful. Involve your management team as well as other individuals who are responsible for security and safety initiatives. Having everyone on board and being able to notify them of specific actions needed can mean the difference between getting everyone out of a frightening situation safely and having preventable injuries or even loss of life. Working with a business continuity consultant is another way to ensure that you’re effectively using all of the options available to keep people safe.

Utilize Emergency Notifications

Having a plan in place is worthless unless you are able to effectively contact all of the people in your community with the correct messages in a timely fashion. This illustrates the importance of cross-channel emergency notifications and a full database of all your contacts. When you have only a limited subset of contact information for your community, individuals not on your distribution list or who are not checking the specific communication method (phone, email or text) that you’re using will miss the message, which can cause frustration and even danger to your residents. A true cross-channel communication system allows you to leverage one message across a variety of channels, so you can notify the largest number of people possible in a matter of seconds.

Creating Scripts

Scripting various incident response plans in advance allows your team to quickly brush off a template and fill in details — quickly communicating critical details in minutes. Don’t waste time trying to determine how much information you should share, but stick with the relevant facts and recommendations for action. Segment your audience so you’re always sending messages targeted to the correct audience group in your mass notifications.

OnSolve is your partner for creating a strong communications strategy for emergency notifications. Check out our recent white paper, Communicating in Crisis – How Preparedness Leads to Successful Crisis Management, which includes a free crisis communication template to get started!

Communicating in Crisis – How Preparedness Leads to Successful Crisis Management

Communicating in Crisis – How Preparedness Leads to Successful Crisis Management

Every organization, whether it is in the public or private sector, needs to evaluate the risks that threaten the lives and property of stakeholders. Communication is a key element of any crisis response plan before, during and after an event occurs.

Download The Whitepaper